In what must be considered the next step in Donald Trump’s plan to undermine the free press and eviscerate the First Amendment for anyone of a different opinion than him, Trump’s Justice Department has seized the personal communications of a New York Times reporter, Ali Watkins, in an effort to see if her personal relationship and contact with James Wolfe, a three-decade veteran of multiple administrations, resulted in the exchange of any improper information.
Alarms across the press have also been raised over the indictment of Wolfe, who has not been accused of disclosing any classified information to Watkins but rather charged with lying to the Justice Department over their exchange of “non-public” and “sensitive” information — which is not illegal in any way.
The Trump administration has been desperate to put a stopper in what has essentially become a running faucet rather than a series of leaks since the inauguration of Donald Trump. Many believe that Trump himself is the source of numerous “leaks” attributed by reporters to a “high-ranking White House official,” and in a Washington environment in which Trump is surrounded by unquestioning loyalists, nothing scandalous that has leaked out of the White House has gotten much traction in the first place.
The story in question that got the reporter’s communications seized by Trump’s attack dogs at Justice was one about his son-in-law Jared Kushner traveling to Baghdad in full military gear — an action that rankled the military and was a source of some humiliation for the political newcomer.
The sealed indictment, again, does not make any claim that Wolfe exposed any secrets of the US government or that he was even the ever-sought “leaker” inside the administration — merely that, when asked by the FBI whether or not he had communicated with Watkins (and two other, unnamed reporters), he allegedly gave a false statement.
If Trump has his way, charges against Watkins would follow the charges against Wolfe, and Trump would happily imprison every journalist who’s ever reported the truth about him.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery